After a week of heartache and despair, getting out of New York for a day or two seemed like a good idea, and the return of baseball provided the perfect excuse. So on September 17, I gassed up the buggy, grabbed a sidekick, and headed for Pittsburgh, where the Mets were resuming their season against the Pirates.
One thing that became immediately clear was that there’s never been a better time to be a New Yorker visiting another town. Instead of encountering the usual standoffishness and thinly veiled hostility, it was all “You poor people, we’re behind you all the way” and “Honest, I’ve always liked New York, ask anyone—I even visited there once!” Outside the stadium, fans were being asked to sign a huge “God Bless New York” banner.
The odd long-distance Gotham love affair continued at the ticket booth, where the clerk noticed our Mets regalia, asked if we were from New York, and quietly discounted our tix by $4 apiece. Things got even more surreal inside the turnstiles, where everyone attending the game was given an “I New York” pin. As for the game, it was largely an afterthought. But the Big Apple boosterism continued in the stands, where we chatted with the good people of Pittsburgh—nice folks, one and all. Ultimately, of course, the heartache and despair returned when we got back home the next day, but it was a bit easier to deal with after the pleasant diversion the Steel City had just provided us. Thanks, Pittsburgh. We owe you one.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 25, 2001